Horse Creek Furnace, Venango County, Pennsylvania
aka Clay Furnace
Horse Creek (aka Clay) - is on Horse Creek in the Rockmere Subdivision of Cranberry Township. It was a cold blast charcoal furnace(jm), built in 1836 by Samuel Bell, who was the owner of Oil Creek Furnace. It was blown in during 1838 and was managed by Samuel's son William Bell and William Davis(s&t). The ore that was used came from further up Horse Creek and was part of the same deposit that supplied much of the ore for the Oil Creek Furnace which was located in what is now downtown Oil City. After passing through a number of owners(evc) and after Bell went bankrupt in1843 the plant was sold by the sheriff(s&t). It was purchased in 1844 by Edmund Evans Sr. who renamed it Clay Furnace, and operated it until 1853(evc). It was controlled by Edmund's two sons for two years, and then for one year by Michael Henry before being banked in 1856(s&t). Some of the cut stones were apparently removed for building foundations, and much of the back wall has collapsed, but the remains of the furnace are being preserved through the efforts of local historians and the members of the Rockmere community(evc). (P)(V)(rp-1977, jm-2003, km-2004).
From Oil City proceed north on US62 to the Oakwood Rose Gardens. This is just beyond the PA157 turnoff. Turn left on the road to the Rose Gardens and then quickly left again onto (T708). This road makes two very sharp curves and finally ends at a private road leading to the Rockmere community along the Allegheny River. It is advisable to seek permission before entering this area. The private road leads into the Rockmere cottage area and after this road crosses Horse Creek on a small bridge to the Oil City Boat Club Facilities. The furnace can be seen behind a tennis court on the flat on the right next to the hillside. (1978). Karl Mouck visited this site in 2004 and confirmed the coordinates.
GPS Coordinates 41º 25.942'N - 79º 39.569'W.(km-2004)
Horse Creek Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Exploring Venango County prepared for the Venango County Bicentennial Commision, 1976(evc).
J. A. Caldwell (hvc) publisher History of Venango County, by Edward (Kirke) White, 1879
The News Herald, Thur. Jul 27, 1978 (tnh)
Isaac Harris (pbd) publisher The Pittsburgh Business Directory, 1837
Karl Mouck, Sandy Lake, PAA
Copyright © Richard Parks, January 22, 2010